Online schools- are they worth the money?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by lyssadubay, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    I've applied to 4 positions so far through the USAjobs site. The thing that helped me in the past, I was able to interview several years ago for a local position, is that I could submit my own KSAs. The new system doesn't have that option it's mult. choice with no area to explain, or in one position I had some places to answer questions in essay or free form, but not much room in which to answer :)
  2. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    Rich, awesome insight! I like what you said "pursue a course of study that will define your future work", makes perfect sense. Man, you should write a book or something :)
  3. Casey

    Casey New Member


    What do you base this on? What is your educational background? Have you ever been to law school?

    On this forum, it seems like Ph.D. holders far outnumber J.D. holders. Maybe the Ph.D. is the “simpler” degree to earn?

    Are you really of the opinion that a UoP or NCU online/correspondence doctorate is more difficult to earn than a J.D.?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2010
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Or, perhaps, this board is about education, and earning the Ph.D. is directly related to higher education, regardless of the discipline and, thus, this board doesn't attract a lot of attorneys. (But it does attract a few, those with interests in higher education.)

    Also, this board is focused on distance learning and, as we know, the ABA is fiercely against DL. This reduces discussions about the JD to a very narrow niche (California DL law schools, mostly).

    Finally, how can a degree that involves, typically, a series of courses, a comprehensive examination, a dissertation proposal, an original and significant research effort, and a dissertation that describes it and its place in the academic pantheon be "simpler" than a JD requiring the student to take and pass classes? Weird.
    I would say yes, by a long shot.
  5. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    We can tell you are a lawyer, you have that over-inflated sense of self :)

    Your degree may be more difficult than mine, but I am sure my Dad can beat up yours ;)
  6. Casey

    Casey New Member

    Over inflated sense of self? Did you read the post by Dave Wagner that I was responding to? He called the J.D. a "pretty good, high yield scam for getting into higher education."

    The J.D. is not a high yield scam. Law schools generally require 85-90 post bachelor credit hours, along with a lengthy writing requirement. This usually takes at least three years to complete (if enrolled full time).

    I have completed distance-ed degree programs, so I totally support online learning. However, I disagree with Rich Douglas. I can't see how a distance-ed Ph.D. would be more difficult to earn than a J.D.

    My law school had a combined J.D./Psy.D. program. A friend of mine who recently graduated from that program told me that the J.D. component was far more difficult.

    On the other hand, one of my relatives is a doctoral (education) candidate. He seems to agree with Rich Douglas. However, he has been enrolled for many (8?) years, taking a class here and there on a very part time basis. He is just now completing his dissertation (which will probably be shorter than my law school writing requirement). This type of schedule would never be tolerated at an ABA law school.

    I have looked at a few distance-ed Ph.D. programs. If I ever enroll in one, I'll let you know what I think.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2010
  7. Casey

    Casey New Member

    My dad died several years ago. But, even if he was still alive, I wouldn't beat him up. ;)
  8. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    The thing that helped explained the process the most was a book called, "The Federal Resume Guidebook", by Troutman. I got it off, but you can probably find it anywhere (Borders, library, etc.) I applied for about 30 jobs via USAJobs, was rated "highly qualified" for several, and received 2 offers.

    From what I have seen and read, there are more opportunities for PhD holders in government vs. private sector. I'm not saying a PhD is "worth it". I'm just saying compared to the private sector, there are generally more opportunities for PhDs in the government, ceteris paribus.

    Another option you might want to consider is an on-campus full-time program. I know it might not seem doable since you are working and have kids, but if you get an assistantship, your school would be paid for, and a (albeit small) salary. Also, you would have access to cheap on-campus family housing, and health insurance is typically provided.

    This is what my dissertation chair did. She was a stay at home mom with 2 kids, and her husband left her, so she because a full time student. I made the mistake once of asking, "So, what made you want to do get your PhD?" and got a 30 minute speech on why men are a**holes. I almost thought she would fail my quals. Heck, she still might fail me in my defense. :eek:

    When it comes to PhDs, I'm on Dave's side. My opinion is don't do it unless the job you want absolutely requires it. You will spend a lot of time and aggravation for something that will give you almost no financial gain (if any). So if you are going to do it, do it right and have someone else pay.

    If you do go into Federal service (or other non-profit or government jobs) and stay for 10 years, we the taxpayer will pay your balance. See .
  9. ITJD

    ITJD Guest

    From an academic's point of view it sure is. From a time span point of view I can't disagree. Three to four years of school vs. a minimum of 5 and up to 9 years of school for some humanities disciplines (history comes to mind), and the "high-yield" statement makes sense.

    Depends on your point of view. Is it "high-yield"? Most would say yes. Is it a "scam"? From a particular view point it is. The key to the statement is context. The statement got under my skin too, for about three minutes.

    I have friends too. One works in a sideshow spinning fire on weekends and jousts at ren faires during summers. When we speak he tells me how hard spinning fire is.. I'll be honest and say I have no basis to determine non-biased fact from that. :) My friend may have the minimum amount of skill required to spin fire. Your friend may have the minimum amount of ability required to work in law. (and may have had exceptional ability to work in academia or in that Ph.D program)

    There are many doctoral programs that require 8 or more years to complete them, though it's true that many wash out by then. In terms of schedule and the ABA, that's not entirely relevant. The purpose of the J.D is to credential practitioners of law.

    If you really want to do an apples to apples comparison lets look at the average law professor. Statistics are available if you do a google search:

    1. White Male though there is a growing percentage of minority candidates.
    2. Has a J.D (100%)
    3. Has a LLM or other occupational masters degree (90%)
    4. A growing percentage have a S.J.D as well (25%)
    5. A significant percentage have a Ph.D or other doctorate. (10-15%)

    So unless we're talking about tier 4 and below, the law profession states that a J.D is not good enough to hold a professorship. This speaks volumes. A J.D may be rigorous because it's a serious profession with serious consequences. It's not a scam for what it is intended for. But to get into academia as a tenured law professor that publishes, it's not, by itself, going to make you competitive from a credential standpoint.

    Please do. I'm sure there will be people here that will let you know what they think until you are in that program and have an entry point to their paradigm.

    All things considered, I think it's best that people avoid the use of charged words with majority negative connotations on message forums as it creates misunderstandings. Best of luck with future endeavors.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2010
  10. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    Thanks, actually one of the Fed. jobs I applied to was back in Gator Country. If I go the Ph.D. route it's for a career as a psychologist. I have some plans already to get that paid for. But if I land a particular job I'm interested in the pay would be enough that I wouldn't have to worry about further ed. at this point, and I would actually enjoy the job as it would combine enough legal and psychology aspects to hold my interests. What more could a person ask for? :)

    I'll look at the book as I'm sure my old resume needs some dusting off.
  11. Y-rag

    Y-rag Guest

    I feel very lucky. I just found out that I was selected for a GS-7 position as a Veterans Claims Adjuster. I only have an external degree from Excelsior College, a BSL (focus in Env Science & Mgmt) and I just started my first class in a Masters program. I retired from the Navy as a BM1(SW), not having ESWS kept me back until the end. Once I got it, I was assured E-7, my CO, XO and Master Chief gave me glowing evals and what did I do? Dropped retirement papers because my daughter was just born and I was not going back to sea. The only reason I say this is I had an excellent record BUT I have been wondering did getting out E-6 hurt my chances for fed employment. Well, that question has finally been answered. I knew I nailed this interview, all 1 hr and 15 mins BUT I have been on pins and needles since. The wait is over. I am taking a big cut in pay but it is worth it. FINALLY, normal working hrs w/flex time....WOW!

    One thing is for sure. This site and another one (which I won't mention because I was banned for "political views' that went against the moderators views, NOT for being disrespectful) helped me out tremendously. Alissa, cookderosa, Geezer and others gave great advice and helped me out tremendously. Lastly, a counselor at APUS, Shannon Spicher, gave me the best advice of all, if not for her, I would not have been in the position to get this job.

    Honestly, I was finally ready to give up on fed employment. I knew I had a very strong record, great interviews, no offers.... until this. Considering I only have a Bachelors Degree, I feel very fortunate. Realizing the number of degrees out there, I can assure you I will continue until I have at least my Masters. I've loved hard, physical work but I am ready to dress BIZ CAS and save my energy for workouts. In all honesty, I had many awards, especially in dealing in customer service, running Gov't Travel Charge Card program, Urinalysis Program, Training, Payroll, Personnel, COMSEC and others. So, maybe there is something to having a solid background. While I had a Special Agent w/DEA and a Special Agent in Charge at Dept of Labor as references, I assure you, no calls were made on my behalf. Anyway, that is my story. Good luck!
  12. Y-rag

    Y-rag Guest

    One last item. I have posted for probably almost 200 positions on the CHART website (DON) and NEVER, not once, even rec'd a kickback. I was told by someone in fed gov't that those jobs don't even exist, they are just posted a for a pool of names but rarely do they ever fill them. Don't know if this is true or not but I know it has not been helpful to me in any way. And I was definitely qualified for more than a handful of jobs. I know USAJOBS also posts many of them, that, if you ask me, is the only way to go.
  13. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Congratulations - I hope everything works out great for you.
  14. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Same with the Army site, CPOL. I have applied for over 150 positions through the Army system (all during 2009). Referred a number of times, but never had interview and not even close to being selected. I feel your pain.

    I have 10 point vet preference as well. Oh well, something will come down the line...gotta stay optimistic or we'd go crazy.
  15. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    Y rag, I heard the same thing myself. I was told my an insider that these positions don't even exist. These positions are merely posted to create a list of names for potential positions should they ever open.
  16. Y-rag

    Y-rag Guest

    I tried that site as well, to be honest not a whole heck of a lot. I sorta felt it might be like CHART and I was a sailor, not a soldier. I figured they would get those jobs and I totally understood that. Cory, quite honestly, best of luck, after all, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I can't say anything else, I made it by the skin of my teeth. I don't know what area your in but around us, last year and this year, the VA had openings for 65 (last) and 15 (2010). I made the cut to the final 34. This was my January madness, like the final 64 +1, survive and advance. I was starting to prep myself for environmental and the private sector, I was looking at the Environmental Protection & Safety Mgmt program at St Joseph's University (PA). I've worked at a MUA (Wastewater Treament Plant Operator), Air Products (Helium/Nitrogen) and Sunoco refinery (Alkylation Unit). But I had a solid experience in the Navy when I was at shore duty, both with my primary and collateral duties. To say I am very appreciative is an understatement. I will miss hard work, but not the crazy hours. I'm ready to hear the birds again, if ya know what I mean? Cory, you probably already did this but if you didn't, make sure you have daily postings for USAJOBS in the area your interested e-mailed to you. You probably also know that many of these jobs are open for 2-3 days, as mine was. I have read that posted jobs open that short of time already have people selected for those positions........I was proof, at least in this case, that is not entirely true.
  17. heimer

    heimer New Member

    This is precisely true. I hate to say it, but, like the private sector, you need to know people in the gov to get the good jobs. At least, that's the way it appears in DoD (I'm an onsite contractor with the Navy).
  18. Y-rag

    Y-rag Guest

    The director of my Masters program had 14 yrs in the federal gov't and he said you won't get in from the outside higher than GS-7 (there's always exceptions). He said those jobs are issued to those already in. I have to believe him. I would think contracted employees have a decent chance. I know the girl at the testing center at the Army Base worked for a contractor and she got the same position as me last year.
  19. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    As much as it pains me to see, I have no doubt that the majority of the jobs already have someone selected for it. If I was working, say for the VA, and I was a 7 and job opened up at 9...I would think that I would be the number one candidate for it. Makes sense. Still doesnt mean I am happy about. I'm on the outside looking in.

    I made one cert list here in Spokane for a position with the Border Patrol. I knocked it out of the park! KSA's were great matched all the requirements (and then some) and scored a 110 on the cert list. That is as high as you can get. Well, I received an email stating that the hiring manager made his selection from another source and did not use the cert lists. No interview or anything. That one stung a bit.

    Thanks for the encouragement.
  20. Y-rag

    Y-rag Guest

    My operations manager that rehired me (I left before) said I made a very wise decision. MUA's in NJ are under attack and there are no raises + we will be making concessions during the next contract (this year). Townships are tossing out the board members to the MUA's and the workers will have to fend for themselves. I've known this which is why I was driven for gov't employment. Either way, I knew I had to be prepared.

    This is the essence of every argument I ever make about the wealthy and their egos and holier than thou attitudes. I am tired of their "I did it MYSELF" comments. My ops mgr at the treatment plant took me back, which allowed me to go to school. The counselor at APUS gave me great advice, HR personnel did as well. Gov't employees, such as makana793 have provided excellent feedback. My neighbor allowed me to use him as a reference and he gave me another high contact to use. A couple of these forums put out excellent info which allowed me to complete my degree ahead of time. I did the hard work but there were many helpers. Now, the VA is letting me use Post 9/11 GI Bill $$$ to continue my education. Ask the wealthy, who have borrowed many dollars and been granted fellowships to pay a little extra in taxes to help out those who are struggling mightily, and out comes the "tude" We haven't even mentioned the military that provided the security for them to earn their wealth. I am very thankful and appreciative, and I sincerely wish the best to you out there who are pounding the table over the USAJOBS website and the frustrations these searches bring. My brain never shut down, it was always racing thinking what I had to do next. Now, hopefully, I don't have a stroke! :(

Share This Page